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Weastern Meadowlark

Just how popular is the meadowlark around Montana? Popular enough to be the State Bird. Meadowlarks are known for their unmistakable song, heard ringing through the air all across Montana's Big Sky.

Western Meadowlark
Sturnella neglecta

Even though meadowlarks are found throughout Montana, they're most common in the open prairies; they prefer to nest in brushy areas surrounding open fields. Despite their name, meadowlarks aren't true larks; they're in the same family as blackbirds and orioles (the bird, not the baseball team). It's never difficult to spot meadowlarks; just follow the clear, tuneful whistle. They're slightly larger than robins, but with stockier bodies, shorter tails and longer bills. Their feathers on the back and wings are brownish with black marks. Their throats and stomachs are bright yellow, with a large black crescent on the breast. Watch the tops of fence lines and fence posts for them because that's one of their favorite places to put on a show.